If you ask India’s 1.3 billion people whether they listen to music, in some form, on a daily basis, you’d probably receive 1.199 billion “yesses.” 100 million of these people (and more, each day) have smartphones in hand, with infinite choices for mobile listening. Only one of those choices requires no out-of-pocket cost, guarantees a frictionless, high-quality experience, and – above all – is legal. That avenue is music streaming.

Smartphones require data packs to stream music, browse social media, use messaging apps, etc., and all of these services impact the user’s data plans. We believe it’s important to break the data barrier so users can go online via mobile for great consumer experiences. Many users are prevented from coming onto the mobile Web because of pricing that is prohibitive. It’s up to us – the leading tech companies, the music providers, and India’s innovators – to remove that barrier. So, how do we do it without sacrificing a fair, neutral, and choice-driven Web in India?

At Saavn, we have always built products with a “User First” approach. We deliver the best mobile entertainment experience for over 13 million (and growing!) monthly users, and the only way to achieve this is by advancing our collective thinking around features, technology, and reducing friction points for India’s mobile generation.

As the next step in that process, we’re currently testing a beta feature called Saavn FreeStream. But what is it? And is it net neutral?

Here’s what you need to know:

This is a carrier-agnostic, network-agnostic feature test, and is being rolled out to prepaid users across 5 carriers in India to start. The initial carriers are Idea, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, and Tata Docomo, but this list will grow as fast as possible, as the feature is refined and comes out of Beta.

FreeStream is based on account re-crediting to the user for data they have used for Saavn streaming. Users are given a data pack anywhere between 100MB and 300MB, which they can use for any app on their phone. However, once they consume that amount of data using Saavn, we re-credit them with another (free) data pack. Basically, we’re picking up the cost of Saavn listener data to help get more people on the mobile Web, without sacrificing neutrality.

Every Saavn product and feature is designed to improve the user experience of streaming music. Saavn FreeStream is a new advancement we are testing, with 3000 listeners participating in an initial trial lasting 14 days. If all goes well, we will release a fully-integrated feature with changes based on our listeners’ feedback.

It’s been a big year for Saavn already, and we’re just getting started. But at the end of the day, we are building a new media economy and a better way to listen to music. The only thing users should have to think about is what music they want to listen to. From music to apps, we fully support user choice and a neutral Web. Our goal is to help bring music to everyone – Saavn FreeStream is one more way of doing just that.

If you’re a part of the Saavn FreeStream Beta test, we thank you for helping us build the best music experience in the world. If you’re not, and would like to be involved, let us know! Stay tuned for more…